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SaturdayOctober 13, 2012

Latino Daily News: Bringing You the Latest Hispanic Current Events and News Stories 24/7

To reflect the dynamic interests of our audience, Latino Daily News is an online daily news source and virtual cultural center for and about Latinos. We offer the latest news headlines, as well as innovative and insightful Hispanic current events stories, photos, videos, and commentaries from a Latino perspective, 24/7.

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Sinaloa Cartel Cell Leader Killed in Clash with Mexican Army

Sinaloa Cartel Cell Leader Killed in Clash with Mexican Army

Photo: Manuel Torres Felix

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Mexican army soldiers killed a suspected high-ranking leader of the Sinaloa drug cartel in a clash early Saturday, the Sinaloa state Attorney General’s Office told Efe.

Manuel Torres Felix, alias “El M1” or “El Ondeado,” was killed in a clash between army troops and suspected cartel gunmen on a road leading to the town of Oso Viejo, they said.

Torres Felix was the brother of Javier Torres, “El JT,” who until his arrest in 2004 was one of the top lieutenants of senior Sinaloa cartel leader Ismael “El Mayo” Zambada.

After his brother’s arrest, Manuel Torres Felix allegedly became a key Sinaloa cartel hit man under the command of Zambada and Joaquin “El Chapo” (Shorty) Guzman, Mexico’s most-wanted fugitive.

A few months ago, the federal Attorney General’s Office included Torres Felix on a list of its most-wanted criminals, offering 3 million pesos (some $233,000) for information leading to his capture.

He was known for the brutal methods he used in eliminating his foes, while several “narco-ballads” - controversial folk songs popular among residents of Sinaloa state - glorified his exploits.

After the clash, the security forces seized a large stash of weapons, ammunition and other material.

Soldiers were deployed to guard the site of the clash and the morgue where the body was taken.

That decision was taken to prevent his body from being stolen, as occurred after last Sunday’s death of Los Zetas cartel top boss Heriberto Lazcano Lazcano in the northern state of Coahuila.

After Lazcano was killed in a shootout with Mexican marines and his body was taken to a morgue, a gang of armed men stormed the building and made off with the corpse.

The Zetas and the Sinaloa gang are Mexico’s two most powerful drug cartels and are responsible for a large share of the estimated 60,000 organized crime-related deaths in Mexico since December 2006.

That was the month President Felipe Calderon took office for a six-year term and militarized the struggle against the country’s powerful drug mobs.

The president’s deployment of the armed forces to fight drug traffickers, however, has failed to stem the violence, as Mexico registered 27,199 murders in 2011, or 24 per 100,000 people, the highest yearly total since he was inaugurated, the National Institute of Statistics and Geography, or INEGI, said in a report released on Aug. 20.

The Movement for Peace with Justice and Dignity, which was founded by poet-turned-peace activist Javier Sicilia after his son was murdered last year by suspected drug-gang members, puts the death toll from Mexico’s drug war at 70,000.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Deported Father Continues to Wait for Custody Ruling

Deported Father Continues to Wait for Custody Ruling

Photo: Felipe Bautista Montes and his wife

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Judge Michael Duncan has said that in November he will have to give further study to the case of a deported Mexican who returned with a special permit to North Carolina in order to fight for the custody of his three children.

The magistrate said the court will have to be in session two more days in November to reach a decision on whether to restore custody to the father, even as time runs out for the Mexican Felipe Bautista Montes to remain in the country legally.

“I’m desperate, I want to go back to Mexico with my boys before Oct. 29, the date when I have to leave the country. I’ve fought for them so much, but the procedure has been going on for a long time. I’m still optimistic though,” Montes, whom the court allows to continue unsupervised visits with the children, told Efe.

For the second time since he returned last July to the western North Carolina town of Sparta, Bautista Montes, 32, appeared in court to keep from losing custody of Isaias, 4, Adrian, 2, and Angel, 1.

This father’s fight to regain custody of his boys began in December 2010 when he was deported after being nabbed for traffic violations in Sparta, where he had lived for nine years with his wife Marie.

After the deportation, Marie lost custody of the children due to economic difficulties, mental problems and drug addiction, and the youngsters were placed in temporary foster homes to be put up for adoption.

“The kids know I’m their dad and they treat me that way. I can give them a future in Mexico, but the adoptive parents are fighting to keep them,” the Mexican told Efe.

The father said that if the judge, whom he considers “very fair,” should rule in his favor, he plans to offer a decent life for the little ones in the state of Nuevo Leon, where he will work in walnut production.

The Mexican’s case gained notoriety in early 2012 when the American organizations Presente.org and the Applied Research Center, or ARC, with headquarters in New York, launched a campaign to avoid breaking up the family.

The assigned consul, Cinthya Prida, told Efe on Saturday that the immigration attorney employed by authorities of the Mexican Consulate in Raleigh, is working on an extension of their citizen’s humanitarian permit to stay in the country, which expires in 17 days.

“If that can’t be arranged, we will continue offering all kinds of technical and logistic support so that Montes can speak in court via Skype (a telephone service on the Internet),” Prida said.

The immigrant’s attorney, Donna Shumate, said Saturday that “the state is delaying” the process to keep the Mexican from testifying in person, though it’s “a good sign” that the judge has allowed the visits between father and sons to continue.

Montes’s situation is not an isolated case, according to the Applied Research report “Shattered Families,” which shows that more than 5,000 children of deported or detained immigrant parents are currently in foster homes.

Last month a Missouri judge scratched the parental rights of Guatemalan migrant Encarnacion Bail Romero, detained in 2007 during an immigration raid at a chicken-processing plant, and ordered her son put up for adoption.

Montes wants his children to live with him in the modest house in the northern state of Tamaulipas that he shares with aunts, uncles and cousins.

However, the North Carolina DSS has argued that the children, who are U.S. citizens, would be better off in this country in the custody of other people.

Read more by HS News Staff →

NCLR, Local Groups Collect 30,000 Signatures Demanding Housing Crisis Resolution

NCLR, Local Groups Collect 30,000 Signatures Demanding Housing Crisis Resolution

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With less than one month left until Election Day, both President Obama and Gov. Romney have been all too quiet on issues related to housing reform.  Millions of Americans have already lost their homes and millions more are at risk of foreclosure, yet neither presidential candidate appears willing to specifically address how he will resolve the housing crisis.

NCLR (National Council of La Raza) partnered with the Opportunity Agenda, National CAPACD, National Urban League, Kirwan Institute, Center for Responsible Lending, and National Fair Housing Alliance on the national Home for Good campaign, which included a town hall tour across the country where politicians, housing policy experts and homeowners sat down to discuss the challenges that families are facing in the wake of the housing market collapse and the solutions that this country needs to keep the dream of homeownership alive.  And thousands of people agreed that both candidates must address this crucial issue.

As we head into the second presidential debate, a town forum, the Home for Good partners would like to remind both candidates that voters are looking to them for solutions to this housing crisis.  On Tuesday, October 16, representatives from the Resurrection Project and NCLR will drop off more than 30,000 postcards to President Barack Obama’s campaign headquarters in Chicago, Ill., asking that he share his plan to:

    Stop needless foreclosures
    Expand affordable rental housing
    Revive a sustainable path to homeownership

Read more by HS News Staff →

DOL Announces $10M in Funding to Reduce Child Labor in Ecuador, Panama

DOL Announces $10M in Funding to Reduce Child Labor in Ecuador, Panama

Photo: Child labor (DOL)

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The U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of International Labor Affairs (ILAB) is seeking eligible applicants under two competitive grant solicitations to implement projects that will reduce child labor in Ecuador and Panama.

Under the first solicitation, ILAB will award $6.5 million to reduce child labor in Ecuador and Panama by providing education to children as well as livelihood services for their households that help decrease families’ dependence on child labor to meet basic needs.

Under the second solicitation, ILAB will award $3.5 million to strengthen policy and enforcement efforts that will reduce child labor in these countries. In Ecuador, these grants also will support policies and services that address the education and livelihood needs of child laborers affected by disabilities.

Eligible applicants may submit proposals for one or both solicitations. Applicants responding to either solicitation must respond to the entire scope of work and demonstrate a proven ability to manage complex projects designed to improve the lives of children.

Applications must be submitted by Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. EST electronically via Grants.gov or as hard copies to the U.S. Department of Labor, Office of Procurement Services, 200 Constitution Ave. NW, Room S-4307, Washington, DC 20210, Attention: Brenda White and James Kinslow.

All awards will be made by Dec. 31. The solicitations for grant applications (SGA 12-10 for policy/enforcement and SGA 12-11 for direct services) are available via the Department of Labor or Grants.gov.

Congress has appropriated funds for ILAB to conduct technical cooperation projects to combat child labor internationally. ILAB grants help rescue children from exploitative labor and strengthen the capacity of governments to address the issue in a sustainable way.

Read more by HS News Staff →

AARP Surveys Needs of Older Latinos

AARP Surveys Needs of Older Latinos

Photo: AARP Latino Poll

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The next President and Congress will decide the future of Medicare and Social Security, and the candidates owe voters straight talk - not just 30 second sound-bites on some of the most critical issues facing the Hispanic community and the nation. 

Hispanic voters are ready. A new series of AARP surveys shows more than 70% of Latino voters 50 years of age and older want to know more about the candidates’ plans on Social Security and Medicare in order to decide who they will vote for on Election Day.

Perceived Greatest Needs/Concerns
of Hispanics/Latinos 50+ Today
Source: AARP, “Priority Needs and Interests of the 50+ Hispanic/Latino Community: Perpectivesd from Hispanic Oinion Shapers (October 2012)

The surveys found a few things candidates may want to make note of: Latino voters ages 50+ are looking at the coming November election with high anxiety - namely driven by economic concerns that extend well beyond the single issue of jobs. Six in ten agree Washington is trying to make too many decisions behind closed doors when it comes to Social Security and Medicare, and 95% agree that Washington needs to spend more time listening to ordinary citizens.

Social Security and Medicare are extremely important matters to many of us and it’s hard to feel certain about the future when both programs will need to be strengthened if they’re going to continue to be there for our children and grandchildren.

At AARP, we launched You’ve Earned a Say (YEAS), Tu Voz es Tu Derecho in Spanish, a national forum to bring the debate about the future of Social Security and Medicare out from behind closed doors in Washington in to the spotlight. Over than 3 million Americans have engaged with YEAS to share their thoughts about how best to protect and strengthen health and retirement security for today’s seniors and future generations, voters are clearly looking to the candidates to do the same.

Read more by HS News Staff →

“Pintoras Mexicanas” Will Exhibit Works By Chicago Artists at Local Event

“Pintoras Mexicanas” Will Exhibit Works By Chicago Artists at Local Event

Photo: Carmina Cortes

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Casa Ciudad de Mexico in Chicago gladly invites you to join them in their annual celebration of the Pre-Hispanic Mexican tradition of The Day of the Dead. This event features the newly renowned “Pintoras Mexicanas,” a group of female Mexican painters, who were recently discovered in February 2011, via Facebook. Along with an exhibit of their work, there will be music and entertainment provided- referencing the Mexican traditions of the Day of the Dead.

The buzz reached widespread curiosity and International growth from Mexico & the USA to Canada, Italy, France and Germany. What was once a small collective has lead to 220 actively participating Mexican female painters.

The Chicago collective is made up of ten Pintoras Mexicanas who currently have five upcoming exhibits, at the Congress Theater, Bridgeport Art Center and the Chicago Botanic Garden, just to name a few.

The Day of the Dead theme, exhibited at Casa Ciudad de Mexico in Chicago, will pay tribute to important historical figures that have passed along. With love and admiration the Pintoras Mexicanas want to honor figures like Aurora Reyes, Carmen Mondragon and social painters like Lola Cueto, Olga Costa or Cordelia Urueta. The exhibit will also pay tribute to women like Frida Kahlo, Remedios Varo and Leonora Carrington.

The participation of national & international Pintoras Mexicanas in different cities like Chihuahua, Monterrey and Mexico City has raised International media awareness of this collective. A circulating tour, which includes Chicago, Mexico City and Michoacán is the next big step for these ladies. Don’t miss your chance to meet the Chicago collective, at Casa Ciudad de Mexico in Chicago on October 26, 2012 at 6pm.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Declassified Documents Shine New Light on Cuban Missile Crisis

Declassified Documents Shine New Light on Cuban Missile Crisis

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Declassified Kennedy Library documents reveal further details of a secret U.S. effort to reach an accord with communist Cuba and avoid a nuclear war during the 1962 missile crisis.

The National Security Archive, a Washington-based, non-governmental research center, on Friday posted documents from the newly declassified papers of Robert F. Kennedy, who at that time was serving as attorney general in the administration of his brother, then-President John F. Kennedy.

RFK played a key role in negotiations to find a peaceful solution to the two-week crisis, which was one of the most serious of the Cold War and had the United States and the Soviet Union on the brink of a nuclear conflict.

The crisis erupted after an American U-2 spy plane detected the presence of Soviet ballistic missiles on the communist-ruled island on Oct. 14, 1962.

Among the documents from the Kennedy Library is the rough draft of a proposed letter to Fidel Castro, identified as “señor F.C.,” and evaluated by a team of advisers to President Kennedy on Oct. 17, a day after the head of state learned about the existence of the missiles.

That letter, available to historians for the first time, “initiated a chain of events that led to a complicated back-channel diplomacy between Washington and Havana at the height of what Kennedy aide Arthur Schlesinger called ‘the most dangerous moment in human history,’” the NSA said in a statement.

The missive warns Castro that by deploying the missiles on the Caribbean island, the Soviets “raised grave issues for Cuba.”

“To serve their interests, they have justified the Western Hemisphere countries in making an attack on Cuba which would lead to the immediate overthrow of your regime,” it read.

But the letter also offered a “carrot” in the form of negotiations to improve relations “once the Soviets and their weapons of mass destruction were gone,” the NSA said.

In the initial deliberations on how to respond to the crisis, however, the president’s top advisers urged him to reject that message to Cuba because it would “undermine the option of a surprise U.S. air attack on the island.”

Kennedy eventually opted for a “naval quarantine of Cuba” to buy time while pursuing diplomatic efforts to convince the Soviets to withdraw their missiles, and he also instructed the State Department to come up with diplomatic alternatives to an attack on Cuba.

On Oct. 25, 1962, the State Department recommended an “approach to Castro” through the mediation of Brazil that laid out his options: “the overthrow of his regime, if not its physical destruction,” or “assurances, regardless of whether we intended to carry them out, that we would not ourselves undertake to overthrow the regime” if he expelled both the Russians and their missiles from the island.

Kennedy approved the delivery of that message to Castro the following day, albeit “disguised as a Brazilian peace initiative sent by the government of populist president Joao Goulart, rather than one from Washington,” the NSA said.

A Brazilian envoy arrived in Havana on Oct. 29, although “the urgency and relevance of Kennedy’s Brazilian back-channel message had been eclipsed by events.”

The day before, Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev “agreed to withdraw the missiles in return for Kennedy’s public pledge not to invade Cuba, and the president’s secret promise to withdraw U.S. missiles from Turkey sometime in the near future,” it added.

The declassified documents also include notes by Robert Kennedy on the so-called “black Saturday” of Oct. 27, when fears of a nuclear war between the two superpowers reached their peak.

The details of the Kennedy administration’s “approach” to Castro remained a state secret for more than 40 years until 2004, when historian James Hershberg published an account of the diplomatic effort based on documents found in the archives of the Brazilian Foreign Ministry and White House National Security Council tapes.

According to Peter Kornbluh, the NSA’s Cuba analyst, the RFK papers, declassified on the 50th anniversary of the Cuban Missile Crisis, “reinforce the key historical lesson of the missile crisis: the need and role for creative diplomacy to avoid the threat of nuclear Armageddon.”

Read more by HS News Staff →

North Carolina Sees 26 Percent Increase in Latino Voter Registration

North Carolina Sees 26 Percent Increase in Latino Voter Registration

Photo: North Carolina

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A record number of North Carolina Hispanics have registered to cast ballots on Nov. 6, state election officials said on the final day for voter registration.

The North Carolina State Board of Elections on Friday reported a total of 105,798 Latino registered voters, an increase of 26 percent over last year’s figure of 83,804.

The increase was due to several factors, including the arrival of Hispanics from other parts of the country and demographic changes as more U.S.-born children of immigrant parents turn 18 and become eligible to vote, Justin Gross, a political science professor at the University of North Carolina, said.

“Young people have injected energy into the contest and I think they’ll make a difference on election day,” Gross said.

He added that “both the Republicans and Democrats recognize that (the Latino) vote is important and have made a great effort to capture it” in the Tar Heel state, where the Hispanic population as a percentage of the total climbed from 4.7 percent in 2000 to 8.4 percent in 2010.

At least 26,000 Hispanics voted in 2008 when Barack Obama won the state’s 15 electoral votes by less than 15,000 ballots, becoming the first Democrat to win North Carolina since Jimmy Carter in 1976.

Although they represent less than 2 percent of the state’s 6.5 million registered voters, Hispanics may have the last word considering that Republican challenger Mitt Romney currently leads Obama in the polls by just two percentage points.

“Any voting bloc can make the difference in tight contests and each vote matters,” Ferrel Guillory, a journalism professor who founded UNC’s Program on Public Life, told Efe Friday.

“Hispanics’ voting potential is very promising, and it will depend in part on whether these new Americans come out to vote in November,” he said.

Carlos Casallas, the State Board of Elections’ bilingual coordinator of special projects, told Efe that a flood of voter registration applications have been submitted in recent months.

“We’re always busy during presidential elections but these have something special, particularly the Hispanic civic participation. There are a lot of enthusiastic young people who will be voting for the first time,” Casallas told Efe.

He said the fact North Carolina is considered a battleground state has motivated its citizens, including the Latino population.

“The community groups have done a great job registering voters, as have the Obama and Romney campaigns,” Casallas added.

“We don’t take any votes for granted,” Cameron French, spokesman for Obama for America, told Efe, adding that staff and volunteers in that state have “worked hard to register Hispanics and encourage them to vote.”

“I feel like my vote counts now,” Arturo Carmona, who will vote for the first time in November, told Efe Friday in Charlotte.

The Republican Party, meanwhile, has not lagged behind in its bid to attract the Latino vote, organizing voter registration drives at political rallies and events.

“We recognize the importance of Latinos as a voting bloc, not only now but in the future. We’ve laid the foundation for future elections and above all at the local and state level,” Republican Party campaign spokeswoman Bettina Inclan told Efe.

At present, 43.8 percent of North Carolina’s Hispanics are registered as Democrats, 18.5 percent as Republicans and the remaining 37 percent as independents.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Indigenous, Afro-Hondurans Receive $4.4M Aid To Cope with Climate Change

Indigenous, Afro-Hondurans Receive $4.4M Aid To Cope with Climate Change

Photo: Honduras

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The Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) has approved a $4.4 million grant to boost indigenous and Afro-Honduran peoples’ ability to adapt to and mitigate climate change and to reduce their vulnerability to extreme weather events.

The grant, funded by the Nordic Development Fund (NDF) of the IDB, amounted to 3.5 million euros.

The contribution will finance small-scale irrigation projects, risk-prevention infrastructure projects, and renewable energy projects — all proposed by the communities — benefitting nearly 7,000 people in Honduras. The Central American country is considered the third most affected by extreme weather events caused by climate change, including rising temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, and rising sea levels.

The irrigation ventures are expected to boost agricultural output in targeted communities by 70 percent, while implementation of local renewable energy solutions is anticipated to produce 250 kilowatt/hours of electricity per day.

Additionally, the program will train 100 community leaders and 900 7th, 8th, and 9th grade students in ways and means to reduce the effects of climate change vulnerability in their localities.

The indigenous and Afro-Honduran communities represent 7 percent of the population. Of those living in rural areas, 20 percent are poor and 80 percent are extremely poor.

The irrigation projects will seek to tackle growing water scarcity problems posed by a reduction in total annual rainfall and the amounts accumulated during dry summer months, particularly in indigenous and Afro districts in inter-mountainous areas in the northern, central, and western parts of the country.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Presidential Debates: Brought to You by an Immigrant (VIDEO)

Presidential Debates: Brought to You by an Immigrant (VIDEO)

Photo: Kennedy Nixon Debate 1960

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Millions of Americans will tune into tonight’s vice-presidential debate, but few will know the origins of the presidential debate process.  While we’ve come to think of these debates as a way to learn more about the candidates vying for our votes, the idea of holding public debates, like so many other great American ideas, can be traced back to an immigrant.  While we frequently note that America’s progress over generations has depended on the hard work and ingenuity of past and current generations of immigrants, it’s important to remember that ideas themselves are a benefit sometimes hard to enumerate, but critical to the American experience.

According to the Washington Post, Fred Kahn, a Holocaust survivor and student at the University of Maryland, came up with the idea of a presidential debate in 1956, peddling his proposal to host a campus debate to the New York papers.  Both the Associated Press and United Press International picked up the story.

“In a democracy, you are allowed to have debates, whereas in a dictatorship, you are not.”

Kahn wrote to Democratic candidate Adlai Stevenson and Republican candidate Dwight Eisenhower, inviting them to a debate on campus.  He enlisted other political heavyweights, getting the endorsement of Eleanor Roosevelt, who said that the debate “might be something that would arouse the interest of young people all over the country.”

In part, Kahn wanted to encourage political activism on campus, but he also had a bigger goal:  Kahn had grown up Jewish in Nazi Germany, and had spent nearly two years in hiding in Belgium.  Says Kahn, a retired economist, “In a democracy, you are allowed to have debates, whereas in a dictatorship, you are not.”

The university eventually nixed the idea for fear of engaging in politically partisan behavior, but the concept took on a life of its own, and in 1960, John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon faced each other in the first televised Presidential Debates.

Kahn’s embrace of democracy in all its messy glory continues today as thousands of immigrants eagerly become citizens in order to gain the right to vote.  Similarly, the activism of young immigrants, many of them in the country without legal status, on behalf of the DREAM Act is another reminder that immigrants bring a passion for democracy and all it represents to their adopted homeland.
Whatever the topics of tonight’s debate, Joe Biden and Paul Ryan should consider taking a moment to thank Fred Kahn, immigrant, citizen, and believer in democracy.


Read more at Immigration impact →

Earning a Spot in the Devil’s Backyard

Earning a Spot in the Devil’s Backyard

Photo: NewsTaco

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By Oscar Barajas, NewsTaco

I never figured that my father was quite the revolutionary or an agent for social change. He just did what he did, and would later state the morality at stake, as if it should have been obvious. I knew that he was a democrat with the exception of the 1980’s when the Reagan Revolution allowed him to fix the legal paperwork that gave him and my mother amnesty.

My father was staunch about his pro-immigrant views. It was not because he was a tolerant man that felt that everyone deserved an opportunity, but rather because he had busted his hump for the railroad company in places like Yuma, Arizona. He felt that everyone needed to earn their keep. He figured that if he was in hell, he should not be the only one around the bonfire.

The railroad company had a wicked sense of humor. During the winters they would send him to work in exotic places like Nebraska, Michigan and Minnesota during the winter and other locations like Arizona, Wyoming and New Mexico during the summer. He would leave on a Sunday and come back as soon as his week was done. The company did not pay for plane rides, so a group of five or six of them would drive out the far reaches of the continental United States.

My father could more or less deal with the winters, but it was the summers that really cut into him. He would come home, and bring the heat with him. His work boots would be covered in tar and his lunchbox would burn upon impact. He would remind the family that he was doing it all for us and challenged any of us to do it for him. He would drink a beer and then unravel his work stories.

Arizona had to be my father’s most hated state. Most of the time they were tales about how younger, stronger, more “American” men were not able to perform his job. However, there were times when his stories became about helping his countrymen evade “La Migra.” INS would make their presence felt since the worksite was so close to the border.

My father always made it a point to tell me how fortunate I was for being born here. He would tell me that sometimes they would find bodies in the freight cars. These were men, women and children who either ran out of water or had simply succumbed to the unforgiving heat. Once in a while they would find someone that was still alive. Whenever that would happen, the workers would all pitch in with a helmet here and a pair of work boots there. They would disguise the traveler as a fellow coworker as well as feed him and run a helmet for people to throw in a couple of bucks.

Sometimes, the traveler would earn a ride to Los Angeles by helping my father and his coworkers fix pieces of the track that had been warped by the heat. My father said he preferred it because it made the work lighter and it was a first step for the traveler to start earning his keep. After all, the foreman never noticed. He never counted the amount of brown faces working shovels or pickaxes from his air conditioned trailer.

My father’s empathy was limited because he cheered on people who worked to live rather than lived to work. He wanted me to have a job, but he was convinced that I would never have to work. In the end, my father never respected those immigrants who thought the borders should be closed AFTER they arrived. Those people had not earned their spot in Hell yet, so who were they to decide?

This article was first published in NewsTaco.

NewsTaco provides you with innovative and insightful news, critique, analysis and opinion from a Latino perspective in a 24-hour world.

Read more at NewsTaco →

Ricky Martin Shares Embarrassing Story of Being Locked Out of Apartment in His Underwear

Ricky Martin Shares Embarrassing Story of Being Locked Out of Apartment in His Underwear

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Ricky Martin won the sympathy of thousands of followers in confessing on social networks that this week the door of his apartment closed behind him, leaving him locked outside in his underwear with no keys to get back in.

“What a way to start the day. I just got locked out of my apartment without keys. And alone. The door banged shut. The problem is I was in my underwear,” Martin tweeted on his Twitter account, immediately sparking a massive outpouring of compassion from his fans.

The Puerto Rican, currently performing on Broadway in a revival of “Evita,” pursued the anecdote saying that he had to go downstairs to reception to look for a copy of the keys.Image

“As you know at 8:15 a.m. the elevator is full of people going to work,” Martin said, adding that the experience gave him a “tremendous rush of daybreak adrenaline” and all he could do about it was laugh.

The incident quickly did the rounds with no less than 7,168 people leaving a comment about it on the singer’s Facebook page, more than 37,000 saying they “like” the anecdote and 953 sharing it with their contacts.

Martin posted on his Twitter account a caricature drawn by a follower showing the artist wearing underwear printed with the Puerto Rican flag and reading a newspaper, as some of his astonished neighbors look on.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Blog del Narco: Did Kidnapped Girl Have Drug Lord’s Baby in the Valley? (VIDEO)

Blog del Narco: Did Kidnapped Girl Have Drug Lord’s Baby in the Valley? (VIDEO)

Photo: Blog del Narco: a photo in Lazcano-Lazcano’s possession that could be Fanny.

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A Mexican family is wondering if a photo found on the body of a slain drug lord means their daughter is still alive and living in the Rio Grande Valley.

Stephanie, or “Fanny” as their family called her, was kidnapped from the streets of Torreon Coahuila back in 2004.

Kidnappers claiming to be with the Zetas drug cartel demanded a ransom but then the calls stopped.

Fanny was 16 years old at the time she was kidnapped but eight years have passed.

Blogs and Mexican media outlets all reported that authorities found a photo in Lazcano-Lazcano’s possession that could be Fanny.

The slain drug lord is seen in the photo with a young woman that many on-line are saying is Ortiz’s missing daughter.

Ortiz is skeptical that the girl in the photo is her daughter based on physical traits.

Read more Blog del Narco here

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Mexico Ranks 4th-Most Desirable Investment Location

Mexico Ranks 4th-Most Desirable Investment Location

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Mexico is the fourth-most interesting country for investors after Nigeria, Indonesia and South Korea, according to study released Friday by German magazine WirtschaftsWoche on high-potential economies.

In a statement, the magazine said investors in search of “long-term success should position themselves in second-rung markets like Nigeria, Indonesia, South Korea and Mexico.”

The report added that the “turbo-growth phase” in the BRICs - Brazil, Russia, India and China - “has already passed” and those economies are rarely considered “dream” destinations by many investors.

The study took into account a range of variables, including basic macroeconomic indicators, balance of trade figures and political stability factors, and evaluated various characteristics of the different markets.

It determined the top investment destination to be Nigeria, followed by Indonesia, South Korea, Mexico, Turkey, Algeria, Poland, Ghana and Malaysia.

“The ranking lists the nine most underrated markets, those that despite their respectable development and sustainable business model are still not perceived as serious competitors,” Florian Willershausen, WirtschaftsWoche’s international editor-in-chief.

The release of the study coincides with the start of Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto’s visit to four European countries - Germany, Spain, Britain and France.

Read more by HS News Staff →

Conservative Argentina Court Allows Rape Victim to Have Abortion

Conservative Argentina Court Allows Rape Victim to Have Abortion

Photo: Conservative Argentina Court Allows Rape Victim to Have Abortion

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This capital’s conservative mayor has agreed to designate five municipal hospitals to terminate pregnancies in certain circumstances after the Argentine Supreme Court slapped down a local judge for blocking an abortion for a rape victim, members of Mauricio Macri’s administration said Friday.

“Justice was done, common sense came first,” said Pablo Vicente, the attorney for the 32-year-old woman who became pregnant after being abducted and raped.

A Buenos Aires municipal hospital was set to terminate the woman’s pregnancy until Judge Myrian Rustan de Estrada issued an injunction blocking the procedure, granting a motion filed by the organization Pro-Vida (Pro-Life).

The Supreme Court, which ruled in March that a woman cannot be prosecuted for terminating a pregnancy caused by rape, handed down a decision Thursday night overturning Rustan’s injunction.

The high court’s intervention was hailed by opposition members of the Buenos Aires municipal legislature, several of whom filed a criminal complaint against Macri accusing him of illegally alerting Pro-Vida to the rape victim’s scheduled abortion.

“It’s an enormous step forward for women’s rights. As we demanded on the streets, in the courts and in the media, finally we achieved a legal authorization for a woman who has experienced a nightmare,” leftist municipal lawmaker Alejandro Bodart said.

Last week, the municipal legislature approved an ordinance decriminalizing abortion in the case of rape or a risk to the health of the mother.

But Macri, the scion of an industrial dynasty and former director of Argentina’s most popular soccer club, Boca Juniors, vetoed the measure.

“If Macri hadn’t vetoed the ordinance, if Macri could have understood the necessity of a law for decriminalized abortion, if Macri hadn’t engaged in maneuvers against these women victims, their lives and those of many others would have been more protected,” legislator Virginia Gonzalez Gass said.

Around 500,000 abortions are performed in Argentina every year, according to official estimates

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Hundreds of Thousands of Colombians Protest Inequality Across Country

Hundreds of Thousands of Colombians Protest Inequality Across Country

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Colombian counterparts of Spain’s “indignados” took to the streets of the Andean nation’s major cities on Friday to protest inequality.

The “Day of Dignity” events in Bogota included students participating in an apprenticeship program and judicial employees, who walked off the job Thursday to demand the government comply with a 20-year-old mandate to standardize their pay.

Protests were not confined to the cities, however, as residents mounted demonstrations in remote rural areas of provinces such as Putumayo, bordering Ecuador, and Norte de Santander, which sits on the border with Venezuela.

Around 300,000 people participated nationwide, David Florez, a spokesman for the leftist civic movement Marcha Patriotica, told Efe.

Marches and rallies took place in 25 of Colombia’s 32 provinces, according to Florez, whose group is among the 100 or so organizations behind the Day of Dignity.

Colombians, he said, are unhappy “with the model we have of an unequal country based on extraction” of natural resources.

Grassroots groups are also demanding “direct participation” in the peace process set to begin next week in Oslo between the Colombian government and FARC guerrillas, Florez said.

Colombia is the world’s 10th most-unequal country in terms of income distribution as measured by the Gini index, a metric used by the World Bank, United Nations and other international institutions.

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Mexican Senate Passes Money Laundering Bill

Mexican Senate Passes Money Laundering Bill

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Mexico’s Senate passed a long-awaited bill to address money laundering, which is estimated to be a $12 billion a year business.

The measure has been sent to President Felipe Calderon’s desk for his signature.

The bill, debated for more than two years with input from Mexican and international experts in the field, is aimed at weakening the financial structures of drug-trafficking and organized crime syndicates and bringing Mexican law into line with global standards.

It commits Mexico to work with the international community to curb money laundering and strengthens the government’s tools for combating this crime, the chair of the Senate governance committee, Cristina Diaz, said after the vote.

The main purpose of this legislation is to detect the approximately $40 billion in annual proceeds from organized crime activities, Sen. Alejandro Encinas said.

He said the bill creates a special unit within the organized-crime division of the Attorney General’s Office to combat money laundering.

Initially proposed by Calderon, the legislation sets a limit on cash transactions and big gambling bets and on the issuance or sale of non-bank service or credit cards and travelers checks.

It also imposes controls on real-estate construction and development services and the sale of jewelry, artwork, boats and planes.

It prohibits the use of cash for real-estate transactions of more than 1 million pesos ($77,519) and vehicle purchases that exceed 200,000 pesos ($15,504).

In the case of jewelry, precious metals, watches, precious stones and artwork, cash payments will not be allowed for purchases totaling more than 300,000 pesos ($23,256).

The new law requires financial institutions - such as the stock market, the Mexican pension savings system, investment firms, savings cooperatives and insurers - to report suspicious activity to the finance ministry.

In a message on Twitter, Calderon hailed the bill as “great news” and crucial to slashing funding for organized crime gangs in Mexico, where turf battles among the well-funded mobs and their clashes with security forces have left some 60,000 dead since the president took office in December 2006 for a six-year term.

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Honduran Teachers Surround Education Ministry in Protest

Honduran Teachers Surround Education Ministry in Protest

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A group of teachers surrounded the Honduran education ministry on Thursday in response to a government threat to punish them if they mount protests in schools.

The teachers, who have been mobilized for months over authorities’ failure to pay them on time and new education laws they see as harmful to their interests, chained shut the main entrance of the ministry.

Speaking in the Caribbean district of La Mosquitia, Education Secretary Marlon Escoto told reporters that the teachers “won’t be able to chain” the Cabinet resolution mandating sanctions for educators who occupy schools in protest.

One of the teachers surrounding the Education Ministry said the siege would last only a few hours, while Escoto vowed to bring criminal charges against the protesters.

President Porfirio Lobo has repeatedly criticized teachers for expressing their grievances in ways that disrupt classes.

“Why don’t they protest on Saturdays or Sundays or outside class hours?,” Lobo asked earlier this week, though without saying when the chronic problem of late paychecks will be resolved.

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European Union Wins 2012 Nobel Peace Prize

European Union Wins 2012 Nobel Peace Prize

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The European Union has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced Friday.

The EU has transformed most of Europe “from a continent of wars to a continent of peace,” committee Chairman Thorbjoern Jagland said in Oslo.

While acknowledging that the 27-member union “is currently undergoing grave economic difficulties and considerable social unrest,” Jagland said the Norwegian Nobel Committee wants to focus on “the EU’s most important result: the successful struggle for peace and reconciliation and for democracy and human rights.”

The 930,000-euro ($1.2 million) prize is to be presented Dec. 10 in Oslo.

The awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize to the EU was interpreted as a stimulus for the euro and European political union by such leaders as German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy.

“The EU was built on the ashes of two wars” and the award signifies “for me, personally,” a “notable encouragement” for the European project’s common efforts, Merkel said.

Rajoy hailed the “excellent news” that the EU took the prize, which in his opinion sirves as a stimulus for the further consolidation of Europe’s political, economic and monetary union.

For his part, Italian Premier Mario Monti said that the “formula of integration to stop war and promote peace invented by the EU” is an object of “study and admiration in many parts of the world.”

And European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso noted the “great honor for the entire EU and for its 500 million citizens.”

But the announcement also had its critics.

The winner of the 1980 Nobel Peace Prize, Argentina’s Adolfo Perez Esquivel, said that the awarding of the prize to the EU should not be used to justify military action on other continents.

“The Nobel Peace Prize for the European Union should be a wake-up call for them to stop their military meddling on other continents,” he said.

Lyudmila Alexeyeva, an 85-year-old Russian activist who spent years in exile during the Soviet era, voiced similar views.

“I fail to understand giving a peace prize to the EU, whose countries took part in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and in other conflicts,” she told Efe.

The Nobel Committee’s choice prompted anger in Greece, the country that has suffered most from the economic crisis and the austerity programs imposed by the EU and the International Monetary Fund.

“The Nobel Committee’s decision is a hypocrisy that offends the people of Europe at a time when they are victims of an undeclared war against all their social rights,” the main opposition party, Syriza, said in a statement.

Stazis Anestis, a leader of Greece’s largest private sector union, told Efe that the prize “makes perfectly clear the EU’s responsibility in this economic war with thousands of victims, specifically in southern Europe.”

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SaturdayOctober 13, 2012